Syrian violence flares amid peace talks

Violence in Syria killed at least 16 people on Sunday, including eight soldiers who died during ambushes and gun battles in the east, northwest and near Damascus, a monitoring group said.

The heaviest fighting erupted in the town of Quriyeh in eastern Deir Ezzor province, killing five rebel fighters, four soldiers and a civilian, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A group of army deserters killed four other troops in an ambush on their convoy near the town of Jisr al-Shughur in northwestern Idlib province close to the border with Turkey, it said.

In the same province, a sniper shot dead a woman near the town of Maaret al-Numan and other fighting broke out near the town of Saraqeb between rebels and the army during a search operation.

A young man was killed in a raid carried out by Syrian security forces in the town of Dmeir, in Damascus province, where four other people were detained, monitors said.

Number of arrests
The Observatory also said government forces conducted searches and made a number of arrests near Douma, northeast of the capital.

And in Maaraba village, also in Damascus province, a soldier was wounded in an attack on a checkpoint.

The violence came a day after the regime of President Bashar al-Assad declared that those seeking its ouster had been defeated and that it was focused on stabilising the security situation across the country.

On Sunday, dozens of representatives from Western and Arab countries were holding talks in Istanbul aimed at pressuring Damascus to implement a peace plan by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

According to UN estimates, more than 9 000 people have died in the unrest that began in March last year, when the protests against Assad’s regime first broke out.—Sapa-AFP

Syria has been described as a nation at war with itself. View our special report

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